Express News Service
NEW DELHI, Dec. 26 - Several writers and intellectuals have protested against the arrest of Mr. Sita Ram Goel by the Delhi police on December 19 for printing the Hindi translation of the book Understanding Islam Through Hadis.
The book written by Ram Swarup was published abroad in 1982 and has been through two reprints in India. The Hindi translation was seized from the premises of the binder before it was published.
In a statement on Saturday, the writers said the police action "raises grave questions of intellectual freedom". They said the author was well known for his philosophical and reflective thought on religion.
They said the study on Islam through the Hadis was based on sources held in the highest esteem by Muslim scholarship. "The resulting picture of Islam may or may not meet with the approval of all those interested in the subject, but the extent of approval a work enjoys has never been the criterion for determining its scholarly merits, not at least in a free society."
The writers said there is a laudable concern on the part of those in authority to establish a climate of mutual tolerance between the two communities. But, they said, "It is doubtful if such a climate can be built on the foundation of ignorance and suppression of critical thought."
The statement was signed among others by Prof. Daya Krishna of Jaipur, Prof. Gopal Krishna of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, Mr. Dharampal, historian, Madras, Mr. Nirmal Verma, writer, Delhi, Mr. A.C. Sen, chairman of the Association of Voluntary Agencies for Rural Development, Ila Dalmia, secretary of Vatsal Nidhi, and Sheen Kaaf Nizam, an Urdu poet from Jodhpur.